I’ve spent a long time exploring my relationship with work. Many of us spend a large chunk of our waking hours working, yet most of us follow the same rigid system.
I believe in a new way of work. The 9-5 job is outdated. In fact, the eight-hour workday was created (by Henry Ford!) during the industrial revolution. But we’re not in the industrial revolution anymore. We live in an era of personal expression, not standardized rigidity.
What would work look like if it was structured not to disable but to enable? I think it would be built on three key pillars -- focus, flexibility, and trust.
Focus: fixed hours are irrelevant. Work output is no longer defined by the number of hours worked (as it once was at Ford’s car factories). Work output is defined by delivering on outcomes, whatever the path it took to get there (provided we respect ethical/moral boundaries). This is incredibly empowering. It means that if we can focus on the right problems with the right creative thinking, we can achieve the same outcomes in a fraction of the time, creating space for other things in life like family, friends, and hobbies.
Flexibility: Some people are night owls. Others like a long lunch. And some others want to live a nomadic life, exploring a new country and culture every month. Work (for many people) no longer requires us to be in the same place at the same time. And more importantly, it doesn’t require us to have similar interests. Work can be an expression of who we are as individuals.
Trust: For the above to work, we must trust each other. At Kindred Minds, we build trust through three intentions. The first intention is to find people worthy of our trust. We look for people who have high integrity, self-awareness, and an open-minded learning mindset. The second is to build an environment that fosters trust. We default to transparency and create an environment where it doesn’t feel intimidating to be honest. The third intention is to take that leap of faith and lean into trusting others.
The concept of work-life balance doesn’t make sense to me. Why is work in tension with life? Why can’t work be a part of a full and meaningful life? My hope is that through these foundations of focus, flexibility, and trust, we can redefine our relationship with work.
We can find a way of work that supports who we are and enables us to be the best versions of ourselves. Sure it won’t be easy. And maybe we can’t act on it right away. But we can start by asking ourselves: what do we want work to look like? And then as life continues to evolve, we can take steps to help make work become a part of our best selves, rather than against it.
At Kindred Minds, we create space to explore topics such as our relationship to our work. Our belief is that if we can understand our core values and match them with how we live across the different parts of our lives, then we can find deeper happiness and fulfillment. If you’d like to explore topics such as these, I’d love to invite you to an intro session. You can book one here.